The worldwide campaign ‘1 in 11,’ launched earlier this year by Qatar-based NGO Reach Out to Asia (Rota), FC Barcelona Foundation and Unicef, received a fillip of QR14,782,800 from a Sotheby’s fundraising auction held in London on Thursday night.
‘1 in 11’ aims to extend education opportunities to marginalised and vulnerable children, commencing in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal.
The sale featured 18 artworks donated by renowned Western and Middle Eastern contemporary artists, including Qatari artist Yousef Ahmad, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, Richard Serra, Wael Shawky and Manal al-Dowayan.
The top lot of the evening, Jeff Koons’s, Donkey (Yellow) from 1999, sold for QR3,091,875.
Two paintings depicting Lionel Messi by Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami sold for a combined total of QR3,785,743. Hirst’s Beautiful Messi Spin Painting For One in Eleven sold for QR2,026,094. Murakami’s Lionel Messi and a Universe of Flowers sold for QR1,759,649.
The sale kicked off with a bespoke football designed by Murakami and signed by both Lionel Messi and the artist, which soared to QR249,792.
Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s deputy chairman, Europe, and auctioneer commented: “Never has the phrase ‘the beautiful game’ been more apt than this evening, when the worlds of Football and Art collided in Sotheby’s London auction rooms. By harnessing the universal language of sport and art, tonight’s auction provided a powerful platform for the ‘1 in 11’ campaign, drawing bids not only from esteemed art collectors but from sports fans across the world.”
Gérard Bocquenet, director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships, Unicef, said: ‘All of us involved in the ‘1 in 11’ partnership – at FC Barcelona Foundation, Rota, and Unicef - are absolutely thrilled by the amount raised at the auction.
“Every child, wherever she or he lives, has the right to learn, to play and to grow, and tonight art and football have come together in a unique way to help ensure more children enjoy that right.”
The Rota website points out that globally, one in 11 primary school-age children – or 58mn out of 650mn children – are out of school. The majority are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable: children living in areas affected by conflict; children in extreme poverty; children with disabilities; children from indigenous communities.
In addition, in many schools, sports programming does not exist, even though studies’ have shown that including sports in school curricula can inspire children to attend and stay in school, lead to better physical health, and help to improve their grades.
In Indonesia, the campaign will support schools in six districts to include children with disabilities. In Nepal, Unicef has worked with the government to identify 10 priority districts that will offer sports programming for children up to secondary school, particularly aimed at breaking down the societal barriers for children with disabilities and including them in school. In Bangladesh, the campaign’s focus will be on reaching out-of-school children.
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